tv Meet the Press NBC July 20, 2014 10:30am-11:26am EDT
the crisis with russia over the downing of malaysia airlines flight 17. strong reaction this morning from the obama administration as russian-backed rebels take the outrageous step of removing bodies from the website. how will t u.s. force president putin to cooperate. war in the middle east after a failed peace push by the obama white house. i'll ask secretary of state john kerry if the president's foreign policy vision is up to all of these global tasks. later, the blow to aids research. some of the world's top experts killed in the malaysia airlines disaster. i'll get exclusive reaction from
the doctor from the national institute of health. an active week on the campaign trail over shadowed. trends with our roundtable. >> announcer: from nbc news in washington, this is "meet the press" with david gregory. >> good sunday morning. the very latest in the standoff are the details emerging how russian backed separatists are interfering with the investigation and removing bodies from the crash site. the latest u.s. intelligence suggests the missile that downed malaysia airlines was fired by russian rebels in the ukraine after they gave missiles to two separatists in two weeks. putin denied and said the u.s. shouldn't leap to conclusions. in a moment i'll speak to secretary of state john kerry. first andrea mitchell with high stakes in what might be the lowest moment in u.s. russia relations since the cold war.
>> american intelligence officials are convinced that russia supplied the missile, trained the separatists who shot down the plane and now this new outrage. the removal of the victims from the crash site. all this evidence pointing to vladimir putin's policies to this horrible sequence of events. now the question is, what are president obama and other leaders going to do about it. launch button on the missile that blew the malaysian airline out of the sky could signal diplomatic dead-end to the reset buttons the obama administration pushed in 2009. >> we will do it together. >> times have changed. >> there's a lot more that needs to be done and put putin on notice that he has gone too far and we are not going to stand idly by. >> latest flash point, ukraine. >> we want russia to take the path that would result in peace in ukraine, but so far, at least, russia has failed to take
that path. instead, it has continued to violate ukrainian sovereignty and to support violent separatists. >> the challenges are, what leverage does obama have? while he's suffering his lowest approval ratings, president putin's popularity is surging on his revival of russian nationalism as he flaunts russian power abroad. from the world cup to cuba. russia is arming u.s. adversaries, supplying heavy away in ukraine, syria and iraq, frustrating u.s. diplomacy. >> what we're seeing is vladimir putin implementing a policy of regional instability, arming with very sophisticated weapons these pro-russian separatists. >> another political challenge do they have the will to impose sanctions that will hurt russia. before this, europe put economic interests against put.
>> i'm not counting on europeans being prepared to sacrifice but i would say it's much more likely. especially if the evidence becomes overwhelming that russia is implicated in this event. >> assume agnew round of sanctions can be agreed on would it force a new course or push russia and united states closer to another cold war. >> u.s. and allies have a vision of vibrant democracy, market economies. russia and vladimir putin have a very different vision. >> it isn't a new cold war but a new low in relations. no amount of pressure including a call from secretary kerry to the russian foreign minister yesterday seems to change behavior. even as body parts are being removed and valuable evidence hauled away from that crash site. david. >> difficult moment at this particular moment, andrea. thank you very much. this morning i spoke with secretary of state john kerry.
secretary kerry, welcome back to "meet the press." >> i'm glad to be with you, david, thank you. >> the president demanded absolute cooperation from russia, from the separatists in eastern ukraine and now the whole world is watching the startling developments that the rebels are removing bodies from the crash site, putting them on refrimg rated traens even talk of removing the black box. >> what's happening is grotesque and contrary to everything vladimir putin and russia said they would do. reports of drunken soldiers unceremoniously piling bodies into trucks. removing both bodies as well as evidence from the site. they promised unfettered access, david. the fact is that right now they have 75 minutes on friday. yesterday, three hours. there were shots fired in the area. the separatists are in control,
and it is clear that russia supports the separatists, supplies the separatists, encourages the separatists, trains the separatists and russia needs to step up and make a difference here. >> how might the investigation be compromised, the government's ability to determine, with certainty, who fired this missile based on what's happening now. specifically i speak here about these reports of the black box being removed. >> let me tell you what we know at this point, david, because it tells you a lot about what's going on. in the last month we have observed major supplies moving in. several weeks ago about 150 vehicle convoy, including armored personnel carriers, tanks, rocket launchers, artillery, all going in and being transferred to the separatists. we know that they had an sa-11 system in the vicinity literally
hours before the shootdown took place. there's social media records of that. they were talking and we have the intercepts of their conversations, talking about the transfer and movement and repositioning of the sa-11 system. the social media showed them with this system moving through the very area where we believe the shootdown took place hours before it took place. social media, which is an extraordinary tool, obviously, in all of this has posted recordings of separatists bragging about the shootdown of a plane at the time right after it took place. the defense minister so-called self-appointed of the people's republic of donetsk actually posted a bragging statement on the social media about having shot down a transport. then when it became apparent it was civilian, they quickly
removed that particular posting. >> are you bottom lining here that russia provided the weapon? >> there's a story today confirming that, but we have not within the administration made a determination. it's pretty clear. there is a buildup of extraordinary circumstantial evidence. i'm a former prosecutor. i tried evidence on circumstantial evidence. it's powerful here. even more importantly, we picked up the imagery of this launch. we know the trajectory. we know where it take from. we know the timing. it was exactly at the time this aircraft disappeared from the radar. we also know from voice identification that the separatists were bragging about shooting it down afterwards. so there's a stacking up of evidence here which russia needs to help account for. we are not drawing the final conclusion here but there is a lot that points at the need for russia to be responsible.
what president obama believes and we the international community join in believing, everybody is convinced we must have unfettered access. the lack of access -- the lack of access, david, makes its own statement about culpability and responsibility. >> given that, given that, and what comes next, "the washington post" has editorialized this weekend what was missing, a clear moral conclusion about the regime of vladimir putin or an articulation of how the united states will respond. what about it? >> well, we're in discussions about that right now. i had a conversation yesterday with my counterpart, foreign minister lavrov. i made it very, very clear that we need this cooperation. we're going to try to find a way immediately whether or not that's going to be forthcoming. as you know, president obama only the day before this incident took place unilaterally moved in order to impose tougher
sanctions. he imposed sanctions on gas, sanctions on military companies. we've taken tough sanctions. we hope this is a profound wakeup call to those countries in europe that have wanted to kind of, you know, go slow and soft pedal this. >> but call vladimir putin what he is, what is the threat he and russia present to the united states and to the west. >> it's not a question of the threat they present to the west, david. it's a question of whether or not you're going to get the cooperation necessary in a way they have said they would. we're trying for the last time to see if that will be forthcoming at this moment or not. but obviously the additional sanctions are reflections of the president's exhaustion of patience with words that are not accompaniedy actions. going back to the meetings i had
with mr. lavrov in geneva several -- a couple months ago now, the fact is they agreed to do certain things and ukrainians agreed to do certain things. ukraine declared a soois fire. 26 soldiers were killed during the course of the cease-fire. we need russia to publicly, publicly, start to call for responsible action and itself take actions that they can take with the separatists they have encouraged, they have enflamed, they have supplied, they have trained and that are still engaged in a contest for the sovereignty of ukraine itself. russia said they would respect the sovereignty of ukraine. that is not respectful to be transferring those weapons. >> i detect in your words, mr. secretary, some reluctance to make this a one-on-one battle. you want to give russia a little
bit more room here. the question is still about consequences. how can anyone view this as anything other than the lowest moment between united states and russia in the post cold war environment. >> david, you can get into these grand proclamations about where things are and where they aren't. the fact is we live in an extremely complicated world right now where everybody is working on 10 different things simultaneously. russia is working with us in a cooperative way on the p five plus one. we just had important meetings in vienna. >> this is about iran's nuclear program. >> in order to try to deal with iran's nuclear program. russia was constructive and helpful and worked at that effort. russia has been constructive in helping to remove 100% of the declared chemical weapons from syria. in fact, that was an agreement we made months ago and it never faltered even duri these moments of conflict. so this is more complicated than
throwing names at each other and making declarations. there has to be a continued effort to find a way forward. that's what we're trying to do. we made it clear, even as we do that, there's no naivete in what president obama has done with these sanctions. united states has been working diligently with europe trying to bring europe along. they have included additional sanctions. we think, frankly, they may need to be tougher. it may well be that the dutch and others will help lead that effort, because this has to be a wakeup call to europe that this has to change. we cannot continue with a dual track policy where diplomacy is winding up with nice words and, you know, well constructed communiques and agreements. but then there's a separate track where the same policy
continues. this is a moment of truth for mr. putin and for russia. russia needs to step up and prove it's bona fides to prove its willingness to put action behind words. >> the war is taking your time. what to gain between engagement of gaza and bombardment of gaza. >> this is a very difficult moment also and a difficult situation. israel has been under attack by rockets. i don't think any nation in the world would sit there while rockets are bombarding it and you know there are tunnels from which terrorists have come jumping up in the dead of night, some with handcuffs and tranquilizer drugs on them in an obvious effort to try to kidnap people and hold them for ransom. the fact is that is unacceptable by any standard anywhere in the
world. israel has every right in the world to defend itself. but we're helpful, very hopeful we can quickly find a way forward to put a cease-fire in place so that the underlying issues, so that we can get to the questions. but you cannot reward terrorism. there can't be a set of precondition demands that are going to be met. we support the egyptian initiative joined in by israel and others to have an immediate cease-fire, and we're working that cease-fire very, very hard. i have been in touch all day yesterday, day before, many days now, with my counter-parts. the president has been in touch with prime minister netanyahu i think day before yesterday. they will talk again today. i talked to prime minister netanyahu yesterday, and i believe the president wants me to go very, very shortly to the region in order to try to see if we can get a cease-fire in place. >> mr. secretary before you go, i want you to answer critics who
accuse the president of an uncertain course in his foreign policy. it harkens back to something the president wrote in his own book, audacity of hope, critical of the bush years. without a well articulated strategy the public supports and the world understands, america will lack the legitimacy and ultimately the power it needs to make the world safer than it is today. is that a problem president obama faces? >> no. let me tell you, what he faces is a problem with a bunch of critics who want to jump to conclusions without looking at the facts. the facts could not be more clear. the united states of america has never been more engaged in helping to lead in more places than we are now. i just came back from china where we are engaged with the chinese in dealing with north korea. you will notice since the visit last year, north korea has been quieter. we haven't done what we want to do yet with respect to the denuclearization but we are working on that moving forward. with respect to syria, we struck
a deal where we got 100% of the chemical weapons out. with respect to iraq, we are deeply involved now in the process of government formation helping the iraquis to be able to choose a government of unity. they can reunite, elect a speaker, about to elect a president. we believe that's moving forward. on afghanistan, we help strike a deal recently to help waring parties in the contest of the election to be able to come together and hold afghanistan together. with respect to iran. this president has taken the risk of putting together a negotiation for the first time in 10 years the iranian nuclear program is rolled backwards. israel and the region are safer than they were. we've negotiated a cease-fire in an effort to try to bring troops into south sudan. we've negotiated a disarming of the m23 rebel group and democratic republic of congo. we're negotiating a major economic treaty, a package trade
agreement with europe. forty percent of the world's gdp. same thing in asia. i would tell you something, david, one thing i've seen for certain, people aren't worried around the united states sitting there saying we want the united states to leave. people are worried that the united states might leave. the fact is that every fundamental issue of conflict today, the united states is in the center leading and trying to find an effort to make peace where peace is very difficult. i think the american people ought to be proud in terms of what this president has done in terms of peaceful, diplomatic engagement rather than quick trigger, deploying troops, starting or engaging in a war of choice. i think the president is on the right track and i think we have the facts to prove it. >> secretary kerry as always, thank you for your time. >> thank you. >> i'm joined now by republican senator lindsey graham of south carolina. senator, welcome back to the program.
>> thank you. >> a lot to get to. let me start on the middle east and war in gaza. there are reports this morning of a serious escalation in fighting with heavier casualties as israel has expanded its ground offensive. what are you hearing? >> i'm hearing there may be some israeli casualties coming from the tunnels where they come out into israel. my view of the israeli operation, stay as long as you need to stay, go wherever you need to go to deal with the viper's nest called hamas. it's not the number of casualties that determines the moral outcome here. there are more german soldiers that got killed than american soldiers. if i were israel, i would stay in gaza as long as i needed to to stop the rockets for good. >> when you see a ground operatio moving in this direction, and you see, again, an operation that may be resulting in heavier israeli casualties, what do you think that means? do you have any words of caution for israel at this point?
do you think the government, the administration will seek to caution israel? >> i hope not. my only words to the israeli government and people is clear it out. close the tunnels. shut down the rocket sites. stay as long as you need to stay. over 1500 rockets have been fired. the only reason there have been a few israeli casualties because of iron dome. if it was left up to hamas, thousands of israelis would be dead. i hope the international community will not find a moral equivalents here. do what you need to protect your people, stay as long as you need to stay. as for secretary kerry, he gave the most ridiculous and delusional summary of american foreign policy that i can imagine. it scares me he believes the world is in sup good shape. america is the glue that holds the free world together. leading from behind is not working. the world is adrift. president obama has become the
king of indecision. his policies are failing across the globe and they will come here soon. >> senator, there's a lot to unpack there. specifically with regard to russia. this crisis over the downing of the malaysia airlines flight, what did secretary kerry not say? what is the administration not yet prepared to do that you think must be done? >> one, he didn't call putin the thug that he is. he didn't call for arming the ukraine so they can defend themselves against rebel separatists supported by russia. all of the enemies of our nation are being well supplied. russia and iran are helping syria. 160,000 syrians have been slaughtered, john kerry, by russian supplied weapons to assad. syria has become a safe haven for terrorists to attack our nation. how about sanctions that would hit putin as an individual, their energy sector, their banking sector. the europeans are never going to lead on this issue. it's indispensable that america
lead. there is a battle of wills between the kgb colonel and community organizer and the colonel is winning. >> there is, you heard from secretary kerry, this kind of knee jerk response he would lay at your feet and others who call for a more robust military action. is that really what you see here or is it working with europeans for the kind of sanctions that you think can actually work to cripple the economy in russia? >> good point. nothing knee jerk is going on here. indecision reigns. president obama is trying to be deliberative. it comes off as decisive. he's trying to be thoughtful. it comes off as weakness. i'm suggesting sanction that is go after putin individually, the energy sector in russia, the banking sector in russia. i'm suggesting that we arm the ukrainians so they can defend themselves. i'm suggesting we put more nato troops surrounding ukraine, roundtable.
andrea mitchell still with us, ron we covered the white house during bush presidency. author of the new book "please stop helping us, how liberals make it harder for blacks to succeed." amy walter national editor of the cook political report. welcome to all of you. ron, the president's response. two visions here of how he's dealing with russia in this moment, another crisis. how do you see it? >> first of all, lets make clear, of course, putin is the thug here. of course, it's very complicated what's happening between israel and palestinians. what we have here is a president for better and worse partly reflecting american sentiment really has not tried to impose his will and vision on the global community. what we have here are consequences in part of an aloof foreign policy. >> you have the secretary of state saying it's not as simple as calling people out. it appears to me they are giving as calling people out. it appears to me they are giving putin some
what about expansion potential? add a line anytime for 15 bucks a month. low dues... great terms... let's close. introducing at&t mobile share value plans... ...with our best-ever pricing for business. we're back. the news of the week has overshadowed interesting political maneuvers ahead of the 2016 race for the white house. potential candidates were out in early voting states this week signaling their intentions and some new polling provides interesting insights into the race. our political director chuck todd with his takeaways. >> reporter: for most of us, summer travel takes us to theme parks or beaches. for presidential wannabes is anywhere they can find potential supporters. this week particularly about
how represents pure conservative values in the age of the tea party, mitt romney was still the nominee last time. republicans still want to nominate someone who they think can win. is that going to fall to rand paul? do you think that mission he's got can carry? >> my first and second instinct is no. but we're living in a time of politics you can't predict anything. we're living in a time of society you can't change anything. look how everything has changed in a few short years. who knows. >> i want to talk about immigration. we heard from senator graham who had an interesting point. we know this is another big challenge for president obama. he's got this immigration prize at the border. the number of unaccompanied children from central america crossing the u.s. is slow but still leaves tens of thousands in the country and in limb bochlt the debate over what should happen is ranging a long way from the border. kevin tibbles went to davenport, iowa, a town trying to decide whether to accept some of these child immigrants. it's this week's "meeti system so we don't have a crash
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